Nothing suspicious in Team Oracle improvement
DUNCAN JOHNSTONE IN SAN FRANCISCO
Oracle may have been caught cheating to put themselves into a massive hole but Team New Zealand have no suspicions about the way the America's Cup holders have dug themselves out with their miracle comeback.
Oracle has taken the final to a winner-take-all race today, winning another double-header yesterday to tie up the points table at 8-all.
But their stunning comeback form has seen them actually already beat Team New Zealand 10 times - making up the two penalty points they were handed down after being found guilty of tampering with their smaller boats in the leadup to this enthralling regatta.
The stunning turnaround has seen them win the last seven races in a row to have everyone scratching heads at Oracle's remarkable lift in speed and performance.
Oracle have made adjustments before every race, some overnight and some between races in their constant game of improvement, a catch-up exercise that has now seen them overtake the Kiwis in upwind speed.
Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker said they had confidence in the strict systems in place around monitoring changes to the giant catamarans.
"There's a process in place with the measures," Barker said.
"They obviously check both boats every day and go through and make sure that the boats are compliant.
"We have no reason to believe that it [Oracle's improvement] is not just through developing systems that they have got."
Measurers double check the boats each day, including weighing them early in the morning and again after races. Seals that control the rudder elevator angles will also be checked, as well as the hydraulics.
Measurement committee members are out on the water in each of the team's chase boats, monitoring them.
Team New Zealand had protested to the jury on the eve of the final about an interpretation on "stored power" in the hydraulics systems used to power the movement of the wingsails and some of the control on the boards and raking systems.
They were concerned that Oracle may have found a way to automate some of that, taking a workload off the grinders. The Kiwi inquiry was thrown out.
"We questioned an interpretation that the measurers put out. We didn't really see it as being completely right, the interpretation. But they went through the process and it was determined to be fine. You know, it's certainly not an issue that we have been looking at," Barker said.
- © Fairfax NZ News